Richard Alston Dance Company presents the world premiere of Carnaval

Richard Alston Dance Company

New show headlines revivals of Gypsy Mixture and Chacony

For choreographer Richard Alston and his loyal fans, the company's annual tour to Edinburgh has become a fixture in the city's dance calendar. This autumn, however, audiences are in for an extra treat, as Alston has chosen the Festival Theatre for the world premiere of his new piece Carnaval.

Showing alongside two of his other works – one a revival of 2004's Gypsy Mixture, the other Chacony, created last year around composer Benjamin Britten's response to the liberation of Auschwitz – Carnaval is certain to provide the light and colour in a triple bill of ranging emotions. But it wasn't fantasies of Harlequins and Columbines that sparked the choreographer's imagination. Instead, his inspiration was entirely aural.

'It is always music that inspires me,' Alston says. 'I was listening to Schumann through my headphones at home and the piece of music that began to catch my attention, because there's somehow a lot of movement in the music, was a piece called Carnaval.'

This triggered a memory of having seen Schumann's Carnaval danced before, in the 1960s by the Western Theatre Ballet – the company that went on to become Scottish Ballet. Deciding he needed a 'fresh approach', he tossed aside notions of traditional carnivals and has chosen to conjure up a contemporary party.

It only remains to be seen how Edinburgh audiences will respond – according to Alston they don't pull their punches. 'They look very hard and they tell you whether they like it or not. So far, we've always been very lucky.'

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 22 Sep.

Richard Alston Dance Company

The acclaimed dance company embarks on its last tour, before the company shuts its doors in 2020.

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